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You Scholarly Online Presence: Why? How?


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There are plenty of studies showing that having a followable online presence increases your citation rate. This is why some people think that having an online social media presence is helpful for hiring and promotion. What about academic social networks? And what about personal websites? Do you need one? There are a few reasons to think that you do (e.g., greater control and maintenance of your online presence than university profile pages provide). In the first 15 minutes of this talk I will quickly lay out the research that bears on your having an academic social network profile and having a website. In the latter 15 minutes of the talk (not included here, yet), I will create a website for someone in the room. So when you leave, you should not only be able to make a decision about making an academic social profile and with making a website, you should also be familiar with the process of making a website.

Your Online Presence: Academic Social Networks and Personal Websites Why? How?. Available from:

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You Scholarly Online Presence: Why? How?

  1. 1. Your Online Presence Academic Social Networks and Personal Websites Why? How? Nick Byrd
  2. 2. Receiving Citation Quality of Your Publication Popularity of Your Topic Visibility of Your Publication Accessibility of Your Publication Automaticity of alerts about your publication (from Kyung Kim and Devin Soper's “Be Visible or Vanish”) Is your research visible? Accessible? Is your research followable?
  3. 3. How Accessibility Works Accessibility: self-archive preprints and other publications on your website or an academic social network (ASN) — e.g., ResearchGate, NB: “ResearchGate [has the highest rate of full text availability]” (Jamali and Nabavi 2015) Google Scholar crawls the internet for your papers and then directs search traffic to you and your papers.
  4. 4. People follow researchers (or topics or phrases) using Google Scholar, ResearchGate,, PhilPapers, etc. When those researchers upload a preprint or publish something, their followers are automatically alerted. How Following Works
  5. 5. ASNs → Citations “…articles posted to had 58% more citations than articles only posted to other online venues, such as personal and departmental home pages, after five years.” (Niyazov et al 2016, italics added) NB: some of these ↑ authors have a conflict of interest.
  6. 6. Comparing ASNs FREE Automatic Citation metrics Manual Citation Metrics Upload/link to Preprints Access without account? Built-in comment system Website- like Page Registered Users ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ A bunch? ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ 210,641 ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ 11 million ✓ ✓ ✓ $ 50
  7. 7. ASN user base The number of registered users on a site might be misleading. After all, many registered users might not be active users. So you might not care that has more registered users than ResearchGate because the latter seems to have far more active (academic) users — i.e., more users who can cite your work. (From Nature, 2014)
  8. 8. How Do Scholars Use ASNs? From “Academic social networks…”
  9. 9. …visualized From “Academic social networks…”
  10. 10. …visualized From “Academic social networks…”
  11. 11. From Times Higher Ed. Why? Perhaps because scholars in the Arts & Humanities are much less likely to use ResearchGate than ( was started by someone in the Arts & Humanities)
  12. 12. (From Nature, 2014) Google Scholar is the most used ASN. So, if nothing else, make a Google Scholar profile.
  13. 13. Social Media? 1. “[Over 40% of scientists who use social media regularly report that they use social media to discover peers]” (Nature, 2014, italics added) 2. “The volume of Twitter mentions is statistically correlated with arXiv downloads and early citations just months after the publication of a preprint” (Shuai et al, 2012) 3. “Highly tweeted articles were 11 times more likely to be highly cited than less- tweeted articles” (Eysenbach,2011 )
  14. 14. Your own website? 1. More control over your online presence. 2. Continuity of online presence between jobs/ institutions. 3. Descriptions of your teaching (and perhaps videos of it). 4. Blog posts to alert followers when you publish/present something (e.g., Myisha Cherry, Richard Zach) for plain-language descriptions of your research (e.g., Eric Schwitzgebel). to work out your ideas (e.g. Helen de Cruz, Rachel Williams, John Danaher, Richard Yetter Chappell). or just to stay in the habit of writing regularly.
  15. 15. All-in-one website and ASN? now offers a “Personal Website” service for about $8/month.
  16. 16. ASNs vs. ASNs vs. WEBSITES FREE FOLLOW- ABLE AUTO SETUP CUSTOM DOMAIN ($) LARGE THEME LIBRARY FRONT END EDITING DRAG & DROP EDITING CUSTOMIZE EVERYTHING MOBILE- FRIENDLY AD FREE BLOG READY Google Sites ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Wordpress ✓ ✓ $ ✓ ish ish $ ✓ $ ✓ WIX ✓ ✓ ✓ $ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Weebly ✓ ✓ $ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Squarespace $ $ $ ish $ $ Google Scholar ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ $ $ ish ResearchGate ✓ ✓ ish
  17. 17. Take Action 1. Create a Google Scholar profile (3-step tutorial) 2. Decide whether or not to create a profile on an ASN (, ResearchGate, Mendeley, others) 3. Decide whether or not to get yourself a website (New Google Sites, Wordpress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, etc.) 4. Next step: use citation management and bookmarking tools (Google Scholar Button, Mendeley (also an ASN), Zotero)
  18. 18. Other Resources Arvan, C. (2015). Query: why so few early-career bloggers? Ebrahim, A., Nader, Salehi, H., Embi, M. A., Habibi, F., Gholizadeh, H., … Ordi, A. (2013). Effective Strategies for Increasing Citation Frequency (SSRN). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. Griffiths, M. D. (2015). How to improve your citation count. MacCallum, C. J., & Parthasarathy, H. (2006). Open Access Increases Citation Rate. PLOS Biology, 4(5), e176. journal.pbio.0040176 Reynolds, C., & Mulcahy, L. (2015). PhD Career Development Programme. London School of Economics. Swan, A. (2010, February). The Open Access citation advantage: Studies and results to date. Free eBook (PDF)